Message written in a leather-bound book, found in an abandoned cabin in backwoods Pennsylvania: "Whoever has found this basic diary now reads the story of George McClellan. Having lived 80 long but blessed years, I've outlived my wife and children. I suspect that God will call me home soon, in this, the year of our Lord 1926. Before I go, I find it necessary to relate to you a part of my life that must not be forgotten. By reading this account, you have been selected to pass on a piece of history that would otherwise be lost. Hear my words well." Seventeen. Such a young age to kill, seventeen. Seventeen years seemed little preparation for watching my friends shot at my left and right and, rather than mourn the tragic losses of these fine young men, hit the ground and come back swinging. No thoughts. Only instinct. Duck, roll, load, fire.
Dodge, jump, kill. All at seventeen.
The road there might have been long, but time was endless in this eternal war. I didn't know what war we were fighting back then. What happened to the ninety days war? I remember signing up for a short and decisive victory, my friends and I all eager to escape the confines of school. The schoolgirls were swooning over us for our bravery. We loved the attention, but we never thought the act brave. War sounded beautiful. War sounded gratifying. War sounded like an escape from our tedious lives. We were so immature. Our innocence would soon be ripped from us, leaving our souls bleeding.
Three years passed. We were stationed in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. It was late at night and the third day of this, the bloodiest battle of the civil war. Nearly 35,000 men had died just in the...